Motor grader thieves chased down in Montreal

Aug. 19, 2011

Stealing two new motor graders from the Montreal Public Works lot must have been a challenging task. But recovery of the two rented machines was fast and easy since the machines were equipped with a GPS-enabled remote machine monitoring system that allows all fleet machines to “talk” to equipment owners and dealers.

Stealing two new motor graders from the Montreal Public Works lot must have been a challenging task. But recovery of the two rented machines was fast and easy since the machines were equipped with a GPS-enabled remote machine monitoring system that allows all fleet machines to “talk” to equipment owners and dealers.

One cold November morning, a city storage yard fence was cut from its posts and the motor graders were driven from the Public Works lot to an unmarked building in Laval, just north of Montreal. Though the thieves intended the building as a hideout, the GPS-enabled remote machine monitoring system was already on the lookout.

Discovering the theft, a city public works official called Strongco Equipment Co., the dealer from which the two machines were rented. Gilles Ager, technical service director for the local Volvo dealer, immediately went online to the Volvo CareTrack system, which reported the street location of the missing machines. After an investigation by police and city officials, the motor graders were returned to the city fleet by 9 p.m. the same night.

Theft prevention is critical but it’s not the primary focus with Volvo CareTrack telematics. The primary focus is monitoring important machine information for the customer and dealer.

But with all of its capabilities, Claude Lussier, mechanical foreman for the city of Montreal, said that the GPS functionality of the system makes it a true hero for him. “It’s a good thing it was so easy to take action. It traced the machines so fast. The police told us that if just one more day had passed, the graders may have been out of range.”

After working more than 27 years with the city, Lussier has seen his share of snowstorms and views the motor graders as vital machines to ensure a higher quality of life during the winter — Montreal has an annual snowfall of nearly 7 ft with 20 degrees Fahrenheit as the average winter high. Lussier said one unprotected motor grader was stolen several years ago and never recovered. He doesn’t want it to happen again.

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